I hate it when someone offers me Flora Light because it’s “healthy”. It annoys me more when someone eats a diet brand of ice cream and claims it’s “good for them” because it’s fat free. This obsession with fat free products is causing more diabetes and other health issues than good wholesome full fat natural products. So for #FitFamilyFriday I would like to summarise 8 of the worst things you can do with your diet, if ‘health’ is your goal, and if you are doing any of these things, it’s almost certainly because you’ve fallen for media scare stories, spurious scientific research being misinterpreted, or product marketing ploys.Continue reading →
For my wife’s 21st birthday (ahem) we had decided to go to The Rainforest Cafe in London. For some time now it’s been on our list of places to go in London, but we’ve never really had the impetus to get there. I’m not sure why, fear of disappointment, need of an occasion, laziness; regardless, right now we had decided that we were going and no where else would do. This our unexpected adventure.Continue reading →
For this week’s #FitFamilyFriday I’d like to talk about how to set goals and which method I find the most useful. I find the SMART principle is really effective and can be applied to anything, but you have to do it right.Continue reading →
90:10 is a new and exciting brand for men who consider themselves to be 90% Grown up and 10% not. Encapsulated within the brand’s message is some recognition for a guy for getting his act together but at the same time reminding him that that this in turn, doesn’t mean that he is now over the hill! We all have responsibilities…but I just don’t accept that because I am no longer a teenager or in my early 20’s, I have lost the ability to have fun or have forgotten how to enjoy myself…quite the contrary! This is what a guy is expressing about himself if he wears 90:10..For the lion’s share of the time, we all have to take life seriously but not all the time! My vision is to marry humorous and innovative branding to stylish and well made clothing delivered to the customer at the right price in an environmentally responsible wayContinue reading →
As I approach my 1 year milestone, I have to ask myself, “Has it all been worth it?” I haven’t invested a great deal of time into this blog compared with others. One look at this post by www.youbabymemummy.com and you will see the dedication that some bloggers have to the success of their blogs; I spend a tiny fraction of my time on mine because deep down I don’t really want it to grow to a proportion where it becomes unmanageable for me. I work full time in a particularly sensitive job, so don’t really want the type of exposure that comes with having thousands of followers, newspaper articles and headline performances at blogging festivals and the need to invest all of the spare hours that I have maintaining that. I do, however, want some interaction with like minded people who share the same issues I do. So at best I pay it lip service and flirt with it occasionally, without ever going the whole hog.Continue reading →
For #FitFamilyFriday I have chosen to repost an relatively old post of mine because I heard two people chatting about wanting to start going to the gym. One said to the other that they didn’t want to go to a gym because they were worried they’d look stupid in front of everyone else who was there. I thought this was crazy, but could appreciate why they felt that because I had felt it. It’s normal to have felt it. Apprehension of the new is terrifying! It’s at this point our mind and our body convince us we are making a huge mistake and the need for self preservation kicks in so we convince ourselves to stop before we’ve even begun.Continue reading →
So here I am in Northwood, having been voluntold to come here for an unknown amount of time up to 6 months, on less money more frustration and forced onto a cross roads of my career. There are a couple of options that I am considering, but I’ll keep my powder dry for now. Needless to say neither one is a step back, one is a significant step up and the other a less significant step sideways. As I’ve mentioned before, I am in a pension trap and will stay with this employer until they sack me, make me redundant or my contract naturally expires, but that does not mean I’m limited to walking the path they forge for me.Continue reading →
I was recently approached by a Promotions Executive representing Jacamo and I was asked if I would like to review their range of Christmas jumpers. At first, I was reluctant because of my preconceived ideas of the brand. My first thought was that even though I can sometimes wear an XXL (Thank you very much Zara!!) I was no where big enough to shop at Jacamo. I’ve always thought that they were solely there to cater for the exceptionally larger gentleman. Or at least that’s the sole takeaway that I have gleaned from the TV adverts I have seen. I decided to have a look at the website and peruse the Christmas jumpers anyway, just in case there was something that tickled my fancy, or didn’t make me look like one of those idiots wearing a Christmas jumper knitted by his nan and sits at a comfortable 5 sizes too big. I’ve got to admit, I was really pleasantly surprised.Continue reading →
Another week spent on “holiday” at home. I took a week off work so that I could be at home for my birthday and now I’m back in Germany reflecting on the week that was.
Going home is always a pleasure to me, I miss my wife and kids so much that going home is always exciting; sometimes the visit does not quite live up to the hype and sometimes it exceeds it. This week was a roller coaster of ups and downs, some emotional lows and some really good times and memories being made.Continue reading →
My Sunday Photo today is of the Ryanair aeroplane that took me back to Germany and away from my family, yet again. There seems to be a disturbing familiarity about the travel process now. The comfort of the airport terminal, the fluid transition through security and the acceptance of separation.Continue reading →
Hello and welcome to #FitFamilyFriday, the new linky co-hosted by me and Ryan at www.dadcreek.com. Both of us are keen to be fitter, healthier versions of ourselves in order to better enjoy family life and promote a healthy lifestyle for our children. The purpose of this link up is to invite you to join us on our journey and encourage you to share any post (new or old) that is related to diet, exercise, health or wellbeing.Continue reading →
This post is not about anything specific that has happened today, nor is it me complaining about anything in particular, it’s just a reference to a really shitty state of mind that I’ve been in today. I have been taken back to a time when I first started this blog, a dark time, a depressed time, a disillusioned time.Continue reading →
It was always going to be a hard task. Getting my kids to have any of their 5 a day is a near impossible task. To date the only thing that works is Innocent Smoothies and an apple. When they were younger they flirted with the idea of eating fruit, hell they even ate veg, but at some point in both of their lives, they became resistant to all things good and only craved the processed immediacy of convenience food.
When I saw the reviews of Naturelly by other parents I thought it was too good to be true; fussy kids miraculously being cured after one sip and suddenly craving all things good. But optimistically I thought this could be the solution I was looking for to bridge the gap between rubbish and notional easing of conscience.
When I tried the juice, I thought it was lovely. It was very sweet, but as I was drinking the tropical juice flavour, it was rich in pineapple and tasted sweet but nice. It was rich in natural sugars, but full of flavour. Keen for the kids to try it, we packed a picnic and headed off to Colchester Zoo, here were the results.Continue reading →
The post is a brilliant one. It explores the differences in the experiences of racism, racial discrimination and bigotry dependant on the demographic you belong to, and how and when to inform your child on these issues. Several comments elude to the notion that they will teach their children about these issues as and when they experience them, but therein lies the rub; black children are more likely to be exposed to racism more often than their white counterparts. No matter how much of an ignorance bubble we build, racism happens. A black lady that I know, who is married to a white man, has a discriminatory experience roughly twice or there times a month, in my 33 years I am yet to have one. On one occasion, she telephoned a hotel, I won’t name it but it is a well known mid priced hotel chain, and asked if there were any rooms free for her, her husband and her 2 children. Of course, came the reply. When they arrived at the hotel, the husband went to park the car while she and her children went to check in. As soon as the receptionist saw her, suddenly no rooms were available. Her child asked her why no rooms were available when her mummy had phoned up and booked in advance, she had no answer. No answer, that is, until her husband came in and asked reception if there were any family rooms available and suddenly one was. At that point she had her answer. Her children asking her why daddy had managed to get a room but she couldn’t. That was her first experience where she has HAD to discuss racial discrimination with her kids.Continue reading →
For as long as I can remember I’ve had an utterly terrible relationship with food. Like the girl who constantly runs back to the bad boy despite knowing he’s no good for her, I am the bloke who keeps going back to processed, unhealthy, rubbish. I know it’s bad for me, I know it doesn’t love me back and I damn well know it will not help me achieve my goals, so why do I keep succumbing to it’s trans-fatty, sugary sweetness!Continue reading →
As you probably know (if you’ve been following me on any of the social media platforms) I’m living in Germany and have recently come back to the UK to complete a course in Health and Safety Management, please keep reading, this isn’t a lesson in risk assessments or bureaucracy. To come back from Germany, I had to take the transport that was provided by work which meant an 11 hour door to door trip each way. 22 hours of travelling, which is really quite mundane and expensive, because the more bored I got the more I spent to alleviate it, a vicious cycle I’m sure you will agree. During the course, on a much needed break, I read the second instalment of Kerry-Ann’s Commuter Diary on her wonderful blog Life As Our Little Family which gave an incredibly accurate list of some of the most annoying people you will come across on your commute. My particular favourites were the Phone User Fuckwit and the Seat Hog Fuckwit. Reading this made me think about my trip and all the observations that I have made and the experiences that I could have done without.Continue reading →
I read a brilliant poem by @nortonmum about mothers being the glue that keeps families together. It’s not the first poem that I’ve read of hers on her blog www.theuncheshirewife.com and I am constantly impressed by how easy she makes it appear to write great poetry. After writing about my decision to stay in the Army and speaking to my daughter over FaceTime for no reason whatsoever 2 lines that rhymed popped into my head. Before you know it I had written a few more lines until I had what resembled an extremely amateurish poem. (by poem I mean a lot of words where every other line rhymes, I didn’t realise that there were so many words that could rhyme with say or way!) Well, after writing it and a few tears, I thought I would put it here.Continue reading →
Whenever I look into her eyes, I just melt and I want to wrap her in my arms and never let go and I get an overwhelming sense of love. When I look into the eyes of my son, I get the same feeling of love, but there’s excitement too. I am eager to show him the world and what it has to offer, to let him go on adventures and be a better wiser man for it, but in the same breath I want to protect my daughter from it. I am scared of letting her go and I’m hoping that I’m not alone in feeling this fear and as my daughter gets older I need to start fighting my instincts to protect her all the time. I just hope that when she does get hurt, I can find the right words to console her and when she doesn’t need words, I hope that I can just be there for her.Continue reading →
After 8 weeks away, I finally get to spend some time with my family. I have just returned to Germany having spent a wonderful week with my wife and kids in our new home in England. It’s been a funny old week, and one thing I tried to cut back on was social media and by proxy blogging. As a result it feels like I have so much to say, but what I have to say does not warrant separate posts, so instead I’m gonna collate them all here into this one single post of my week by theme.Continue reading →
It’s been some weeks now since my family moved back to the UK whilst I see out my contract working in Germany having moved into a block of rooms similar to that of a Premier Inn, Holiday Inn or other such budget hotel. I had a George Foreman grill, but having set the fire alarm off twice by using it, I binned it. As a result, the large fridge freezer was only being used to hold microwave meals and cans of diet coke, both of which I’m finding I can’t afford in the current climate, particularly when I can have a 2 course lunch and a 3 course dinner cooked for me, with no washing up, for the combined cost of €4.18. The problem is, having been unable to afford supplementation, or bulk loads of meat and now with no-where to store or cook it, I have noticed a dramatic affect on my body. Now, by being frugal with my money and being forced to seek alternatives to home cooked meals, I am left eating whatever the catering contractor deems is suitable for me, with absolutely no knowledge of what is going into my meals. The results have been horrible, particularly for someone with my goals.Continue reading →
The magnets themselves were of a really good quality, now obviously the quality of them will be determined by the original photograph, at least in part anyway. But I thought the print quality was exceptional. There was no pixelation or blurring. There was no colour bleed or edging and I was really impressed and…well…the magnets worked. They were smaller than expected at 50x65mm and 0.75mm thick, and I’m not sure if there is an option to get bigger sizes, but as magnets go they are a really practical size and they hold a decent amount of weight as well. For £9.50 for a sheet of 9 magnets, I think they would make excellent gifts for grandparents, particularly ones like on my in-law’s side who actually collect fridge magnets. To summarise, the magnets do exactly what they say on the tin, are of a good quality and would make a great one time gift for a relative. For what they are, I think £9.50 is a tiny bit over priced, but this cost clearly offsets the worldwide free delivery hook. Take a look and decide for yourself, but remember to use the code DAD125 to get a 25% discount.Continue reading →
I’m a little bit of a deep thinker. Sometimes I’m guilty of overanalysing things and reading something complex within a simplistic idea. Dreams fascinate me. I know that dreams are a manifestation of our mind continuing to work long after we have gone to sleep and the images are the result of us subconsciously playing with thoughts that linger on our minds. They are also the brain’s way of deciphering the events of the day and coming to terms with your experiences. As I sit here at half past 3 in the morning having woken from what was quite possibly one of the weirdest dreams I have ever had, and while I believe it was just my brain metaphorically dumping its garbage all in one go, I do have some idea of what it all means. Or maybe I’m just making the events fit the facts through the vision of hindsight; none the less I felt compelled to put it down in writing before I forgot it, plus having just had a can of diet coke, and no matter how cold and refreshing it was, I don’t think I’m getting back to sleep so may as well do something to occupy my time.Continue reading →
#MySundayPhoto on 7 Sep 14 is of my beautiful wife Vikki having a breakfast at Café Rouge in Covent Garden having just watched Matilda the night before. Today is our 7th wedding anniversary and I couldn’t be more delighted that this extraordinarily wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, courageous, strong woman had chosen to spend the rest of her life with me. We have our ups and downs, we argue, we fight, and life isn’t always rosy, but the love I feel from and for her runs deep. We are almost complete opposites, yet we fit, we click and we work. In the words of the walrus of love, she is truly my first, my last my everything.Continue reading →
On 7 Sep 2007, Vikki and I got married. We always knew we would get married, from the first moments we shared together and even though the odds (and her family) were against the relationship at first, 7 years and 2 kids later, we are stronger than ever and I think her family like me. We met whilst I was leaving the Army (I rejoined again some time later). The trade I joined didn’t pay to teach you how to drive, so before going into civilian life I decided to enrol on an intensive driving course in Chester. On arrival at the farmhouse where I would be staying for the duration of the course, a young 18 year old girl, wearing far too much make up and big black hair wrapped in a big collared fur gilet answered the door. Despite the makeup and the 4 inch eye lashes, when she smiled a smile so big it showed all of her teeth and her little nose crinkled, I was completely in awe. The other students who had already arrived were heading into the village to get a drink and get to know one another and she invited me to join them. By the end of that night I knew I would love this girl for the rest of my life. Needless to say, 2 kids and plenty of ups and downs later, we are stronger than ever. I love you Vikki, with all of my heart, but here are 7 things that I have learned about marriage along the way.Continue reading →
This is the kids learning about the Dam Busters on the Mohnesee Dam. The kids did really well, there was loads of walking and me trying to make bouncing bombs and big aeroplanes sound exciting. The scenery was gorgeous and I wished I had something better than an iPhone 4 to take photos with. Mind you if I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it. A photography course is desperately needed! #MySundayPhotoContinue reading →
I was at my mistress gym doing an extremely half hearted workout, so I took two minutes to scan who else was in the gym with me. It didn’t take me long to identify almost every stereotype of gym goer that I know, so I thought I would I would share them with you. Bear in mind that all of these people were actually in the gym with me. Do you see yourself in this list, or can you add to it?Continue reading →
In addition to my goals for the year, I have also undertaken the concept of the #fitdadchallenge. It’s not a fad diet plan, or fitness regime, it’s just getting up and doing more in order that I’ve got more energy to spend on my kids. Too many times I’ve got home from work, slumped on the sofa and whilst the kids are excited to see me, I come out with the inevitable, “Not now kids, Daddy just wants to rest a little.” The problem is that this began to become the norm and even at weekends I’d struggle to find the energy to invest in fun time with them. I’d half heartedly indulge in play time fantasy, but I began to notice that the amount of time I could play chase or be a horse or dance along to the Spice Girls got less and less, whilst the time spent on the sofa watching TV got more and more. Enough was enough and I decided to try and make more time for them.Continue reading →
#MySundayPhoto today is of the most important thing in my life – my family. Everything I do, everything I am is because of these 3 wonderful additions to my life. I love them with all my heart and couldn’t imagine being without them.Continue reading →
The reason I have written this post, is to admit that I have bottled it! I have conducted the cost/benefit analysis and it makes absolutely no sense to leave the Army. The key factor, though, is that now my wife sees this too. She too had grown tired of the fact that I would always have to put the Army first and then the family a close second. It’s even written into the contract we sign, that the needs of the Army come first and the needs of the service person and their family will come a close second. We agree to be mobile and serve wherever the Army need us to be, dependant on the agenda of the Government at the time. At no point do the families have to sign up to this and many do not realise what their partner is signing up to commit to until it’s too late, kind of like a gym membership. My wife became fed up of the time away, the stories starting with where were you daddy and the lack of certainty over where we would be at any given time, planning by the month rather than the year. But now, after only being able to view the here and now, my wife can see the bigger picture of what continued service means. @dadbloguk writes a great piece on how having a child changed a friend’s outlook on long term financial planning and this forms the basis of why I have decided to stay serving.Continue reading →
I woke this morning at 05:45 having gone to bed at 01:00 (I watched the Froch Groves fight) because my youngest was awake, which then woke my eldest and rather than have my wife deal with it, I got up and saw to them both, until I boiled the kettle for a morning coconut oil and espresso. This woke my wife and rather than just roll over and enjoy the lie in I’d afforded her, she was up at 07:00 and began her normal daily routine. By 11:00 I had been shown 4 photos shared on her Facebook feed of the good deeds of all of her wives’ husbands. The husband who looked after the 4 kids, did all the housework, let his wife lie in until 11:00 and then took a huge fry up to her in bed with a small bouquet of flowers. Dick! The other husband who surprised his wife with 2 tickets to somewhere nice and he had secretly booked a baby sitter to look after the kids. Dick! Why couldn’t these good deeds have just been contained within the household and appreciated on a mutual sense of shared duty level. While I’m sure the husbands didn’t go around bragging about their latest good deed, I am in no doubt they did pass their wives’ media platforms to them shortly after the gift with the gentle encouragement to share with their friends what a great husband they have. Dicks!Continue reading →
The reason behind the #MySundayPhoto this week is to appreciate the development in technology that has allowed me to be able to see my family every day (wifi dependant) despite being hundreds of miles away. It also makes me spare a thought for those who are apart, but don’t have this privilege, those who are separated by distance, through necessity, without the means of staying in touch but remain just as devoted and loving. How must that feel? I know exactly how that feels because it wasn’t too long ago that I was away from the family for 7 months without the ability to communicate save for good old fashioned pen and paper letters, where you had to truly consider your words because you couldn’t just select all, delete and start again. That feeling of anxiousness when the mail is delivered and you eagerly wait to see if your loved one has written back, only to experience a disproportionate sense of disappointment that this week there is nothing for you. So whilst many may criticise the likes of Microsoft and Apple for their ethics in business, that drive to improve technology either to have a competitive edge or for pure profit, I thank you because it means every night I get to say good night to the people who matter most to me, face to face (almost).Continue reading →
As many do on January 1st, I set myself a series of resolutions and decided to share my theory on goal setting. I took the original SMART concept and expanded it to the SMARTER way of setting goals. The E stands for Evaluate, so here is a review of my progress on the 3 goals that I set myself for 2014.Continue reading →
My #MySundayPhoto for today is the start of a very busy 72 hours of packing, organising and managing children throughout.Continue reading →
I have chosen this photo to be my #mysundayphoto for 2 reasons: The amount of fun that my daughter found in a simple hoola hoop should set the example for us all and the ability to walk around without trousers or pants on like my son and not have anyone call the police.Continue reading →
This post is probably going to divide opinion. Some will find what I’m about to say shocking, some will criticise me for being so negative, some will tell me to grow up but for some, I might just strike a chord of recognition. Whichever way you lean, please take a deep look at your lives and ask yourself honestly, is there anything that you would change if you could? And if you would, have you ever regretted that you didn’t get it right first time and has it ever crossed your mind what your life would have looked like if you had?Continue reading →
For her 6th birthday, we gave our daughter the option of a birthday party for 10 friends, a sleep over for 3 friends, or she can take 1 friend to a theme park. She chose the theme park and opted for Potts Park in Minden. It is a theme park designed specifically for children aged 10 years and younger and I have to say, is very impressive.Continue reading →
My #MySundayPhoto today is of my daughter Olivia looking all regal in her Elsa costume. Her mother had just straightened her hair for the first time since George was born some two and a half years ago. He has never seen her hair straight before, so when Olivia went up to him while he was sat watching TV and asked what he thought of her hair, she was surprised by his response. He turned looked at her for about half a second and simply said, “Okay.”Continue reading →
Compromise is absolutely key to a marriage. You will never find someone who is so absolutely in sync with you that you will not, at some point, have to submit to your partner’s will. But I’m increasingly finding that the only “right” compromise seems to be my compromise.
The definition of compromise involves concessions being made by both parties; however, if one party is always doing the compromising surely that’s a dictatorship. We have differing opinions on the intricacies of raising of our children, but share the same views on the bigger picture issues: discipline, manners, education and our roles as parents for example. Where we often come to conflict are things such as reaction to mess created during meal times, the level of hair neatness prior to school and the kids’ eagerness to assist in absolutely everything we want to do.
I’m very relaxed when it comes to children being children, this doesn’t mean I’m absolutely comfortable with it, but I accept that a 2 year old eating a yoghurt or cereal by himself is going to create some mess; likewise, when they see us washing up or cooking, they really want to get involved and join in by helping us, even though it often ends up in more mess and a much more difficult task than originally perceived, but it is in our reactions to these that make me and my wife clash. I really don’t mind if my 5 year old daughter goes to school with slightly fluffy hair because we have been playing games before she catches her bus, because I don’t think she should be so preconceived with image issues at that age. There will be plenty of opportunity for insecurity later on in her teenage years, but as my wife sees it as a big issue and gets cross at having to redo my daughter’s hair, I feel obliged to say that we cannot play because it will make her mother cross.Continue reading →
When you have kids and one of you decides to stay at home to look after them how exactly do you structure your day without entering into a competitive debate over whose day was worse in order to get the other to look after the kids while you have a break?
Invariably there are two worlds running concurrently. While I am at work, my wife gets our daughter ready for school, makes sure she has a packed lunch, her books and everything she needs for the day, she then cares for our very disruptive 2 year old son, whilst simultaneously doing all the washing, ironing, cleaning etc, but then I’m out at work, the clue is in the name work. I’m not out at easy villa or relax town, I’m at work, where you are judged on your ambition, drive and ability to get things done. Not exactly a relaxed, peaceful environment where you catch up on all the lost sleep because your eldest had a nightmare that she lost her wings after being turned into a fairy!
So why is it then, that when I work through the door, I’m immediately expected to go into parenting mode without even taking a breath. I get the opportunity to take my uniform off, hear how horrible my wife’s day has been then bam! I’m in the living room on my knees acting like a horse and then passing a bus back and forth whilst singing the alphabet and wheels on the bus 32 times. I do it because that’s my second job, I’m a parent with responsibilities and we give and take and compromise in order to make life just tolerable enough.Continue reading →
I fucking hate superlatives. Especially in my marriage. My wife uses them all the time and it really winds me up. But the problem isn’t hers, it is mine.
Greg Anderson said, “The perfect no-stress environment is the grave. When we change our perception we gain control. The stress becomes a challenge, not a threat. When we commit to action, to actually doing something rather than feeling trapped by events, the stress in our life becomes manageable.”Continue reading →
Apologies to all of the die hard fans of Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, but I’m about to paraphrase and potentially misquote one of your favourite films because today I had a “I want you to want to do the dishes.” moment. Now I’m not naive enough to believe that she actually wants him to want to do the dishes, but she more likely wants him to want to do the dishes for her. Doing something that he and probably everyone else in the world doesn’t want to do for the person you love shows that not only do you appreciate them, but you’re willing to do something you really can’t stand just to please them, so in a sense the man isn’t wanting to do the dishes, he’s wanting to please her. Any women reading this can correct me if I’m way off the mark, I’m trying to understand but struggle significantly.Continue reading →